Why Ted Dekker says his Beyond the Circle series is the most important he's ever written
Ted Dekker is the award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of more than forty novels, with over ten million copies sold worldwide. He was born in the jungles of Indonesia to missionary parents, and his upbringing as a stranger in a fascinating and sometimes frightening culture fueled his imagination. Dekker’s passion is simple—to explore truth through mind-bending stories that invite readers to see the world through a different lens. His fiction has been honored with numerous awards, including two Christy Awards, two Inspy Awards, an RT Reviewers’ Choice Award, and an ECPA Gold Medallion. In 2013, NPR readers nationwide put him in the Top 50 Thriller Authors of All Time.
Yet, amid all the success, Dekker’s heart for Christ - and for readers to know Him - remains true. In fact, he asserts that the two books in his latest Beyond the Circle duology (The 49th Mystic & Rise of the Mystics, Revell) are ‘without a doubt the most important novels I have ever written”.
In The 49th Mystic (May 2018, Revell), Rachelle Matthews awoke in another world after a dream. A world where she discovers that she is the prophesied one, the 49th Mystic, whose task is to find five ancient seals. She finds three of the five seals “through great peril and mind-altering adventure”, the fate of humanity hanging in the balance.
Two of those seals remain hidden, and in Rise of the Mystics (October 2018, Revell) Rachelle continues her quest. If she succeeds, peace will reign. If she fails, the world will forever be locked in darkness. Hope By The Book calls Rise of the Mystics a story of good vs. evil and unexpected twists “that will grip readers from the first page…all while keeping vital Biblical aspects at the core.”
Along with his nonfiction works The Forgotten Way and The Way of Love, the Beyond the Circle duology investigates “the journey from fear to love, from blindness to sight, and from darkness to light.” Dekker expounds on this concept by saying, “We are Christians, but we live in fear of loss. We live in blindness to the kingdom of heaven now present. We live in the darkness outside of our glorified nature, risen with Christ. These novels take us all into a radical reexamination of what love, light, and sight are, and why we, though claiming to be Christian, are still lost to these simple truths.”
Rachelle, like all of us, is on a journey “through wild adventure to know herself in the midst of great change and challenge”. Her journey is, at its heart, a spiritual quest. It is also our journey and, according to Dekker, it’s “the primary reason we were born into this world”. And while the ending of Rachelle’s quest surprised the seasoned author (“I had no idea it would end the way it did. But I quickly understood that it was the only ending that made any sense.”), it’s not a journey we should fear. In fact, “only as we come to understand our true identity in Christ can we grasp unconditional love and be set free from the fear that enslaves humanity”.